I have lost my voice (in a place where my voice wasn’t mine)

Have I lost my voice by removing myself from social media? And if so, does it matter? What is ‘my voice’ on social media, anyway?

In thinking about the decision to leave, most streams of reasoning resolve to a simple question: what kind of intermediaries do I want brokering my knowledge, communication, and interaction with other humans?

Social media platforms are publishers. I post content to them. Their algorithms decide where and when and to whom the content is delivered. Such operations are precisely the purview of publishers: distribute ‘content’ to ‘consumers.’

Except social media publishes the content of their contributors with no monetary remuneration. Instead, they pontificate platitudes and self-praise for amplifying ‘the people’s voice,’ which, in turn, retrenches their self-appointed role as gatekeepers of the public sphere. Social media manages, controls, and exploits my voice for its revenue model. It does not give me a voice at all; I give my voice to it. Is it really ‘my voice’ if someone else decides who gets to hear it?

So yes, I have effectively ‘lost my voice’ on social media, but my voice on social media was free labour for a non-transparent, self-interested publisher. It is not a ‘partnership’ upon which I want to build my dependency.

What do people mean when they say, ‘Science’?

What is science, exactly? Today we talk a lot about ‘evidence-based policy’ in government, academia, and in the media, but is there a widening gap in the way we define ‘evidence’ as a society?

Is ‘science’ just another segment on the evening news? How do we, as a general public, decide when to trust science? Do you believe the studies that say chocolate and coffee are good for you…or the other ones? How do you validate your beliefs about immunizing children?

Nadine Wathen (@nadinewathen) is a Full Professor in the Health Information Science Program in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University. She is a Research Scholar at the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children in Western’s Faculty of Education. Nadine holds an affiliate appointment in Western’s Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research and is also cross-appointed to the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing. Her research develops and evaluates interventions for women and children experiencing violence, and seeks to enhance the science of knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) to ensure that new knowledge emerging from research is made available, in appropriate ways.

#MeToo and the Presumption of Innocence: how can we believe victims and protect the legal rights of accused at the same time?

This conversation was born from a question: does assuming that the accused is innocent mean assuming that accusers are liars? And, in contrast, does believing a victim’s story without an investigation mean denying the accused of their presumed innocence? Does ‘innocent until proven guilty’ inherently favour the protection and rights of one gender above the other?

In this podcast, we explore the apparent gender-based differences in the ways that people experience the legal system. We question who has the power to define a ‘credible victim’ in the eyes of the law and in the broader community. We also wrestle with the fundamental question of how ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘sexual assault’ are defined (and are being redefined?) by society.

Truth be told, I don’t think we were able to definitively answer the question, “How can we believe victims and protect the legal rights of accused at the same time?” But hopefully the ideas and perspectives shared here can contribute to the broader discourse. This is a topic I am sure deserves further analysis, and it is one to which we will doubtlessly return again. As always, if you have perspectives to add to this dialogue, please get in touch or, better yet, share in the comments below. Curious to hear your thoughts.

The Panel

Kelsey Adams (@kelskadams) is a Social Media Coordinator at ANOVA, which provides safe places, shelter, support, counselling, and resources for abused women, their children, and all oppressed individuals.

Lesley Bikos (@lbikos) is a former police officer and PhD candidate in Sociology at Western University. She researches the intersection of gender and workplace culture with a current focus on policing and police reform.

Mark Henshaw (@MarkHenshaw) completed his Master’s thesis on the topic of engaging high school boys on the issue of violence against women.

Leah Marshall is a social worker and the Sexual Violence Prevention Advisor at Fanshawe College.

Art Changes People and People Change the World

According to the quote meme on the internet, the musician John Butler once said, “Art changes people and people change the world.” It also seems evident that events in the world inspires the art that people create. This reciprocal nature of society and human expression has mesmerized artists, researchers, activists, historians, and ethnographers for a long time.

So, let’s talk about art and society. How are artists of all kinds describing the world right now? How are art-based strategies helping researchers better understand the experiences of individuals and groups? How does the present shape art, and how does art shape the future?

The Panel

Eugenia Canas (@EugeniaCanas) co-coordinates the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI). She is a Health Information Science PhD Candidate, where she uses critical, participatory and art-based research approaches to understand issues of epistemic justice in the engagement of vulnerable populations. Eugenia holds clinical experience as an art therapist in child/adolescent oncology, working in hospital and community settings. She is a Doctoral Fellow with the ACCESS Open Minds Network at the Douglas Institute of Mental Health. She serves as mentor and facilitator in local and national research and knowledge translation initiatives, including the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s SPARK Program, the Wisdom to Action Network, and the Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD) .

Tom Cull (@waltercull) is the current Poet Laureate for the City of London. He grew up in Huron County alongside the Menesetung (Maitland) River. He teaches creative writing and American Studies at the University of Western Ontario, and runs Thames River Rally, a grassroots environmental group he cofounded with his partner Miriam Love. Tom has also served on the boards of the Urban League, Poetry London, and WordsFest. His chapbook, What the Badger Said, was published in 2013 by Baseline Press and his first full length collection of poems, entitled Bad Animals, is forthcoming from Insomniac Press (Spring, 2018). His writing has appeared in journals, anthologies, and he is the co-publisher of WordsFest Zine, an “instant” zine of occasional poetry celebrating London’s literary festival, Words.

Holly Painter (@HollyPoetry) is a spoken word artist, public speaker, and certified teacher. She is passionate about sharing her stories, inspiring audiences, and advocating for important causes through poetry. Holly has spoken to over fifty thousand youth in school and community settings and performed on stages across the country. She is the National Director of Spoken Word Canada, Director of London Poetry Slam, and a former Artist in Residence with Thames Valley District School Boad and London Arts Council.

Dispatches from the campaign trenches

In the summer of 2016 after finishing his undergrad, Micah Richardson (@richardsonmicah) quit his job and joined a fellowship in the Hillary Clinton Campaign. He was stationed in New Hampshire, working in field operations, where he organized a volunteer organization with regular phone-banks and canvassing.

In this podcast — a tiny dose of modern history — we hear Micah’s story and reflections on the nature of social movements, the politics of media and messaging, and how large groups of people align themselves to ideas and ideals.

We are joined in conversation by Jennifer O’Brien (@JeninLdnont) — a highly respected journalist and reporter in our community.